Writing Exercise – Playing With Narrator’s Voice


This is a passage of fiction I wrote today as part of an exercise for my course. We were supposed to explore how unreliable the narrator can be, and we were asked to write a short piece where the narrator can contradict themselves with something that they say. What do you think? Did I manage to convey the contradiction in my narrator with her approach to a colleague? Any comments will be gratefully received.

I was in a bit of a daydream earlier today and I found I was staring at Janet’s hair again. The sun was streaming in through the office blinds and it lit up her hair like a halo. Running my fingers through my own frizzy tresses I realised it needed a good cut and could probably do with a bit of a deep conditioning too. Only half hearing the ringing phone on my desk, I wondered if Janet coloured hers. I decided to give mine a go over the weekend to see if it would give it some life to give me a halo like Janet’s crowning glory.

My friend Ruth mimed tipping a cup of coffee towards her mouth behind Janet’s back to me and pointed to the kitchen. Guessing she wanted a bit of a gossip I eagerly jumped up out of my seat and followed her in.

Look at that top she’s wearing today,’ she whispered insistently. I giggled and looked back out towards the office where Janet was busy with her audio typing.

‘I know! She looks like she’s been dragged through a hedge backwards and then dipped in paint!!’ I said. Janet’s horrifically clashing purple and orange top was giving me a migraine and it looked like Ruth had noticed it too.

We looked at each other and couldn’t help ourselves. ‘TRAMP!’ we chorused together.

 

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About Pam Smith

I am a Christian and currently exploring vocation. I am a writer, I conduct a brass band, I am an avid reader and when I'm not doing any of those things I crochet with a fierce passion. I am mum to two fantastic young adults, celebrating my Silver wedding anniversary in 2016 with my husband. I recently gained my Bachelor of Arts with honours.
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3 Responses to Writing Exercise – Playing With Narrator’s Voice

  1. viviellevirgule says:

    Very nice! And very realistic. How true and how sad it is how easy it is to treat people differently or view people differently because of who we are with!

    Like

    • sterlingsop says:

      It is, isn’t it? I think we are all guilty of that to a certain degree. As I was writing about this character I found I didn’t like her very much. I’m finding it fascinating to work out how characters form on the page from their bare bones in my imagination and how likeable characters in my head turn out to be horrors on the page!

      Like

  2. dbp49 says:

    Yeah, I think you captured the concept of the “unreliable narrator” very well. A great job. When I took it in university, we used a couple of Margaret Atwood’s short stories for examples. She really liked using that narrative voice, and since a lot of her characters had emotional disorders, it worked well.

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